LAUNCHERS GET READY FOR THE SMALL SATELLITE GOLD RUSH - Just five years ago, small satellite operators would say “yes” to any possibility to get into orbit at a reasonable price, says Stephen Eisele, vice president of Business Development at Virgin Orbit. But times are changing, and with the small satellite market growing exponentially, the operators are increasingly aware of their significance for the launch providers and expect more.
Where cost used to be the single decisive factor, the requirements to get into orbit on time and into a specific orbit are becoming more important. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jan 22)
NRO, THE U.S. SPY SATELLITE AGENCY, PREPS FOR FIRST DEDICATED LAUNCH FROM FOREIGN SOIL - Rocket Lab’s first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the U.S. government’s fleet of intelligence-gathering satellites, is scheduled to launch from New Zealand as soon as Jan. 30 (U.S. time), officials announced Monday. With rare exceptions, information about the NRO’s payloads is typically classified. The spy satellite agency and Rocket Lab released no details about the payload set to fly into orbit on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket later this month. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 22)
SPACEX GEARS UP FOR NEXT STARLINK SATELLITE MEGACONSTELLATION LAUNCH WITH ROCKET TEST - SpaceX has fired up the rocket booster that will ferry the company's fourth batch of Starlink satellites into space. Just over 24 hours after SpaceX aced an in-flight abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, the company conducted a static-fire test of a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the company said on Twitter. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 22)
SPACE STATION PROTOTYPES SHIPPED TO LAUNCH CENTER - Two major prototypes in China's manned space station program have been transported to the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province for prelaunch preparations, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
The agency said in a statement on Monday that the arrival of the prototypes of the Chinese space station's core module and the country's new-generation manned spacecraft at the launch center meant that the construction project of the space station will soon begin. More
(Source: ecns - Jan 22)
IRAN SAYS IT IS PREPARING FOR SATELLITE LAUNCH - Iran said Sunday that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation's space center for eventual launch, without elaborating.
Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted about the development, calling it an “important research step.” More
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Jan 20)
SPACEX ACES FINAL MAJOR TEST BEFORE FIRST CREW MISSION - SpaceX performed a dramatic high-altitude test flight Sunday of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule over Florida’s Space Coast, testing the human-rated ship’s ability to escape a rocket failure and save its crew before two NASA astronauts strap in for a flight to the International Space Station as soon as this spring.
The unusual test flight included an intentional failure of the Crew Dragon’s Falcon 9 rocket about a minute-and-a-half after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 20)
EUTELSAT CONFIRMS SOLAR RAY LOST ON EUTELSAT 5 WEST B - After an investigation into a malfunction on one of EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite’s solar rays, Eutelsat confirmed Friday that the satellite’s South solar array has been lost. The attendant power loss means only 45% of the capacity of the satellite can be operated. With the exception of the South solar array, the satellite performance remains nominal. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jan 19)
EUTELSAT KONNECT SATELLITE NOW IN ORBIT - Eutelsat Konnect telecommunications satellite has been successfully launched by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center. Eutelsat Konnect was built by Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), acting as prime contractor for Eutelsat Communications.
From geostationary orbit, this satellite will provide large-scale coverage of highspeed internet markets across Africa and Europe. More
(Source: SatelliteProME.com - Jan 19)
SPACEX DELAYS CREW DRAGON ABORT TEST LAUNCH TO SUNDAY DUE TO BAD WEATHER - SpaceX postponed a critical launch escape test of its Crew Dragon astronaut taxi today (Jan. 18) due to bad weather at the mission’s launch site. The next attempt will be on Sunday, the company said.
The California-based spaceflight company was scheduled to launch its unpiloted Crew Dragon spacecraft on a used Falcon 9 rocket at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) today from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, bad weather at the launch site, coupled with rough seas at Crew Dragon's recovery zone in the Atlantic Ocean, prompted the delay. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 18)
FIRST SPACEBUS NEO SATELLITE LAUNCHED - Ariane 5's first launch of 2020 has delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned transfer orbits. Arianespace announced liftoff at 21:05 GMT (22:05 CET, 18:05 local time) this evening from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Konnect, with a launch mass of 3619 kg, was the first to be released after about 27 minutes. More
(Source: Space Daily - Jan 18)
HOW TO WATCH SPACEX'S CREW DRAGON ABORT TEST LIVE ONLINE THIS SATURDAY - SpaceX will launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft on a critical abort test Saturday morning (Jan. 18), and you can watch it live online.
The private spaceflight company will use an expendable Falcon 9 rocket to launch the uncrewed spacecraft from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT). If the test flight, known as an in-flight abort, is successful, it will prove that the Crew Dragon has what it takes to keep onboard astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during launch. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 18)
VIDEO: PREVIEW OF DRAMATIC CREW DRAGON IN-FLIGHT ABORT TEST - SpaceX’s final planned Crew Dragon test flight before astronauts ride the commercial spaceship into orbit is scheduled for Saturday, when an unpiloted crew capsule will fire off the top of a Falcon 9 rocket shortly after launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to test the craft’s in-flight emergency escape capability.
This video illustrates the timeline of the in-flight abort test, which is scheduled to begin during a four-hour window opening at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) Saturday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 18)
JAPAN TO LAUNCH ELECTRO-OPTICAL IGS RECONNAISSANCE SATELLITE IN JANUARY 2020 - Japanese satellite and space industry giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has announced that an MHI H-IIA satellite launch vehicle will send Japan’s eighth Intelligence Gathering System (IGS) reconnaissance satellite into orbit from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwest Japan, on 27 January 2020.
The IGS satellite will carry an electro-optical camera and will join seven other IGS satellites already in orbit. More
(Source: SpaceWatch.Global - Jan 17)
ARIANESPACE LAUNCHES EUTELSAT, ISRO SATELLITES ON FIRST 2020 MISSION - European launch provider Arianespace completed its first launch of the year Jan. 16, sending two communications satellites into geostationary transfer orbits.
The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the Guiana Space Center at 4:05 p.m. Eastern with the 3,600-kilogram Eutelsat Konnect satellite and the 3,400-kilogram GSAT-30 satellite.
Eutelsat Konnect separated from the rocket’s upper stage about 28 minutes later, followed by the Indian space agency ISRO’s GSAT-30 satellite after another 10 minutes. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 17)
KUAIZHOU 1A ROCKET LOFTS CHINESE BROADBAND TEST SATELLITE - A solid-fueled Kuaizhou 1A launcher carried a commercial broadband communications satellite into orbit Thursday for GalaxySpace, a Chinese company that says it plans to launch up to 144 spacecraft for a space-based 5G network in the next few years.
The light-class Kuaizhou 1A rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan space base at 0302 GMT Thursday (10:02 p.m. EST Wednesday), according to a statement from the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., the government-owned contractor that owns Expace, a commercial subsidiary responsible for Kuaizhou 1A launches. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 17)
SIERRA NEVADA EYES 2021 LAUNCH OF DREAM CHASER SPACE PLANE - 2021 could be a big year for Sierra Nevada Corp.
The Colorado-based spaceflight company is on track for a 2021 launch debut of its robotic Dream Chaser space plane, even as the firm shoots for the moon under NASA's Artemis program, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) representatives said.
Dream Chaser is set to become the next addition to the fleet of uncrewed cargo vehicles that ferry supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 17)
ARGENTINE SMALLSATS HITCH RIDE WITH CHINESE PAYLOADS ON LONG MARCH ROCKET - Two Earth-imaging microsatellites built and owned by the Argentine company Satellogic launched on a Long March 2D rocket from China Wednesday, sharing a ride into orbit with two Chinese spacecraft.
The ÑuSat 7 and 8 satellites — each about 45 kilograms (100 pounds) — lifted off on a two-stage, liquid-fueled Long March 2D rocket at 0253 GMT Wednesday (9:53 p.m. EST Tuesday) from the Taiyuan launch base in northern China’s Shanxi province. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 16)
EUTELSAT’S KONNECT SATELLITE READY FOR LAUNCH - Eutelsat’s Konnect satellite, which will provide broadband services for Europe and Africa, has entered its final phase ahead of its 16 January launch.
The Konnect satellite, which was built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat, is part of a European Space Agency (ESA) partnership project to help to deliver competitive satellites for the commercial telecommunications market. More
(Source: Capacity Media - Jan 15)
WATCH ISS SPACEWALK JANUARY 15 - Two astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station (ISS) on January 15, 2020 for the first of three spacewalks this month. NASA TV’s live coverage of the spacewalk will begin tomorrow at 10:30 UTC (5:30 a.m. ET). NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are scheduled to conduct tomorrow’s spacewalk, as well as the next one on Monday, January 20, to finish replacing nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries that store power generated by the station’s solar arrays. More
(Source: EarthSky - Jan 15)